Us nerds like nothing more than to banter around nerdy topics in Slack. Here is one of those chats, very lightly edited for clarity.
Slack Chat: What will happen in Avengers 4?
Jaws (Nerds on Earth co-founder and owner of a Marvel No Prize): Gentlemen, we have gathered together to talk about what everyone is truly thinking about this holiday season: What the heck is going to happen in Avengers 4?
After the climatic end of Avengers: Infinity War, people quietly wept and hid their faces as they left the theater. Is that the end of the our story? What comes next?
In today’s chat, we are going to explore some ideas, our hopes and potentially some spoiler things that are out there as news. And, besides, no one ever stays dead in comics, right Clave?
Clave (Nerds on Earth co-founder who refuses to acknowledge that Chris Evans will ever age out of the Captain America role): Can I destroy the momentum of this chat right out of the gate and say that…I kinda don’t want to think yet about what will happen in Avengers 4?
To your point, no one ever stays dead in comics, so we know Infinity War is some sort of rope-a-dope, but I so enjoyed it immensely in the moment that I’m having a hard time with trying to predict how they will make the pivot in Avengers 4. Am I a weird nerd for just wanted to go into the theatre with an empty mind?
Jeremy (Nerds on Earth Intern suspected of being a Skrull): Actually, I’m the same way a lot of times with movies like this.
Clave: So, chat over?
Jaws: Thanks for coming by guys!
Okay, so let’s talk about before we get there. There is a Marvel movie that comes out between now and Avengers 4: Captain Marvel. Now, one of the things that we know is that that movie is set in the past, circa the 1990s. And the Infinity War post-credits Nick Fury triggering a pager seems to put those ideas together but…how will that tie together? I am super curious about how they are launching what I think will be one of the major pieces of the MCU moving forward in such a weird way.
Is this just an excuse to get a glorious 1980s soundtrack? Is Kenny Loggins making a comeback?
Jeremy: Well, I’m all for another throwback soundtrack. That was one of my favorite parts of the Guardians movies, as I’ve used that soundtrack for everything from cutting the grass to working out.
Jaws: And, listen, Kenny Loggins jammed on both the Footloose and Top Gun soundtracks. If you can buy stock in him, now is the time.
Clave: First, I’m offended that you’d suggest that Kenny Loggins has ever gone out of fashion. I was just listening to him and Jackson Browne the other day, but I also agree that what they are doing with Captain Marvel being set in the past is veeeeeery interesting. I’m assuming they are establishing key elements for Avengers 4. However it could be that Captain Marvel is simply to set up what is AFTER Avengers 4.
Jeremy: The plot of Captain Marvel, at least what I’ve deduced from trailers, just seems to suggest that Captain Marvel is similar in ways to Captain America. She may still use a pager to communicate because she’s adjusting to modern life.
Jaws: So, here is the thing. I keep thinking Marvel has to stub their toe on one of these movies at some point. I bet on Doctor Strange being too weird and yet, it did fine. I thought Ant-Man would be bad comedic fit, and now, I love those movies. Is Captain Marvel the flop? Because I sure don’t want it to be but there feel like a lot of elements there that are asking a lot of the audience: time travel, shape shifting aliens (Skrulls), an intergalactic war.
I mean, Brie Larson looks like an amazing fit and, I think you are spot on Jeremy: She is going to be Captain America 2.0 to Black Panther’s Iron Man 2.0. But is this movie going to be one where the timing is just so bad?
Jeremy: I certainly hope not, because I think Marvel is at an important crossroads as a cinematic universe. So far, they’ve done no wrong, but they’ve also avoided being too “comic booky,” which helps with mainstream audiences. When someone is dead, they’re dead everywhere. Characters are consistent across movies, no “over here Captain America is fighting Nazis, but over here he’s actually Hydra because – wait, never mind.” The exception is Loki’s fake death, but that fits the character.
But now, they’re at the precipice of something that could be way too “comic booky,” to continue the phrase, for those mainstream fans. If they go at least one of the predicted directions from here, a lot of folks might check out.
Jaws: Agreed. There is a tipping point where the MCU and comic books can relate but if you start to drift too far into comic book world, you could lose the billion dollar audiences.
Clave: Poppycock! That’s a bunch of flimflam phooey! Captain Marvel will take in a billion dollars and have a 85+ Rotten Tomato rating. Bet on it. It will be Top Gun meets Independence Day (the original good one). What I’m less confident in is if it ties into Avengers 4 or if it sets up what’s next. I think for the Avengers 4 answer we need to figure out what Doctor Strange saw in that single timeline.
Jaws: I get it. You have been the Kree to my Skrull on the Marvel movie machine all along, Clave. And, if rumors are too be believed, time may be a central point in what Doctor Strange saw AND the Captain Marvel movie. For instance, did you hear the rumor of young Peggy Carter being around for a scene in Avengers 4? Do she and Steve finally get his dance before he has to do something drastic to save the others?
Clave: Wait, a rumored flashback with Peggy Carter??! Oooooh, this just got real interesting!
Jaws: Well, here is something that we do know, that isn’t necessarily movie related but clearly is going to impact the end of Avengers 4: contracts are, allegedly, coming to an end. Most notably, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., who have been the major players since the start of the MCU are coming to a close.
Iron Man and Captain America seem like the kind of heroes who might lay it all down to save the others. Is that too obvious?
Jeremy: Man that would be cool, story-wise, but whatever they do, there needs to be concrete consequences and stakes. Well, that’s the case if they’re making comic book movies for the masses.
Jaws: Jeremy: that is why I do think this is the end of the road for both Captain America and Iron Man. And, in the comics at least, there is history of the suits and titles being past on to others. For instance, in the recent past both the Winter Soldier and Falcon have both been Captain America for at least some time.
Clave: I know you have a dark horse candidate for the suit though! Care to share?
Clave: I would love for Agent 13 to take up the shield. Emily VanCamp has the talent for it, she and Steve share values (and a smooch), and she’s the niece of Peggy Carter. It would be fun.
Jeremy: If you’re making comic book movies for comic book fans, then sure, give us alternate timelines. Give us dead folks that were never really dead and just make up new rules to make it all fit. But if you’re going to continue to hold the attention of essentially the entire movie-viewing world, there have to be some absolutes.
If Cap and Iron Man have to sacrifice themselves to save their friends, that’s it. They’re done.
Jaws: As it should be. Just because we can continually use CGI and take the wrinkles out, I do think it is a more interesting story to let these heroes move on and pass the baton to the next generation, so to speak.
Jaws: Given that we have already seen Rhodey as War Machine, any ideas on what happens with Iron Man, if Tony is departing as we are speculating?
Jeremy: I mean, I really think that’s something they have to be careful with.
Clave: I have no idea. Shuri does sort a a Riri thing, like some sort of comic / movie mashup? IDK
Jaws: I have wondered about the suit going to one Pepper Potts. I believe there is a historical precedent for something similar to that in the comics.
Clave: Honestly, I have no idea what they are going to do in Avengers 4 and the MCU is my favorite thing in the world, so I think about it all the time. I think that’s what is so great about it. They could go a multiverse of different directions and I’m there for all of them.
Jeremy: In the comics, I know that’s commonplace. One Iron Man leaves, dies or becomes otherwise incapacitated, and someone else steps up. But that’s a foreign concept for those of us who have largely viewed comics from the outside. Bruce Wayne is Batman, Peter Parker is Spider-Man and Thor is, well, Thor. That’s one of the many ways that I think you can push a lot of those dollars away.
Clave: I wouldn’t worry about Disney’s dollars. They have way smarter folks than us watching over them. Let’s just grab our popcorn and enjoy the movies.
Jaws: And, let’s be honest, as much as they make on these movies, they make way more on merchandise and when the rights to Marvel properties for theme park type things come back to Disney, they are going to be able to print money directly in Florida and California.
Jeremy: Well, Disney is a company first, after all. What message will they receive if they make an Iron Man with Pepper as the new Iron Man, and it doesn’t make big money: “oh, that was a mistake” or “oh, this run is over”? My main concern with all that is that they’d go one bridge too far, story-wise, and prematurely end a really cool thing.
Jaws: Well, we shall see soon. Just in the first half of 2019 we are getting Captain Marvel in March, Avengers at the first of May and Spider-Man: Far from Home just in time for July 4th weekend. It is a good time to be a superhero fan.
And, longshot here, but don’t bet against a sappy Bryan Adams song to be the bridge between the emotional moments in Captain Marvel and in Avengers 4.
Clave: Wait, did you say Longshot? Is our next chat topic how the MCU is going to implement the X-Men franchise?
Jeremy: Don’t tease me, Clave.